Unlike many of my friends and absolutely unlike my darling husband, I have a great love for vegetables. Most people don’t understand what I mean when I say I am a preferred-vegetarian. I think that’s just my warped way of saying that I love my veggies. If I don’t get to eat meat or fish for days on end, I could definitely live with it. But if I had to go for 2 consecutive days without vegetables (and I don’t mean potatoes and onions), I would lose my mind. I don’t care what form I have them in — cooked sabzi, raw salad, steamed crunchy sticks. Anything. As long as I can have some. I’m one of those weirdos who absolutely luuuuuuurves her ghiya-tori-tinda-baingan-karela and any other yucky ones you can think of! But for the longest time, I didn’t learn how to cook basic Indian veggies.
Growing up in my mom’s house, I was almost always in charge of appetizers, salad and dessert every time she hosted a dinner. Which was pretty often. And I revelled in the compliments dished out by her guests, having the best time showing off. As a result, I never paid attention to the basics I loved – simple sabzis to enjoyed with dal and roti. Everyday North Indian fare. But once I got married and ran my own kitchen, the more chicken I had to cook for AK, the more I craved veggies every day. Now, even though I have learned to cook so many of them, I still think my mom makes each one of them better. But don’t we all?
This sweet and sour petha has been adapted from her basic recipe, where I’ve added a little extra flavour and heat using saunf (fennel seeds) and kali mirch (black pepper).
In a hurry? Skip straight to the printable recipe.
Here’s what I used for 2-3 servings:
1 small-size petha (yellow pumpkin) ~800 grams
3 – 4 green chillies, chopped
1 teaspoon saunf (fennel seeds)
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sugar
salt to taste
1 heaped teaspoon amchur (dried raw mango powder)
half a bunch of fresh dhaniya (cilantro leaves), finely chopped
Here’s how I made it:
First, I peeled, de-seeded and diced the pumpkin into 1/2″ cubes.
Transferring these to a mortar-pestle, I set it aside and allowed it to cool. In the same kadhai, I heated up the oil on high flame and added the diced pumpkin to it, stir frying it for about 2 minutes.
I covered the kadhai with a lid and lowered the heat all the way, allowing it to cook until the pumpkin was cooked through. About 5-7 minutes. In the meanwhile, I pounded the saunf-pepper into a coarse powder.
Lifting the lid of the kadhai, I added the spice mix and amchur, giving it a good stir. I tasted it and adjusted the seasoning, allowing it to cook for another minute to allow all the flavours to meld.
- 1 small-size petha (yellow pumpkin) ~800 grams
- 3 - 4 green chillies
- 1 teaspoon saunf (fennel seeds)
- ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- salt to taste
- 1 heaped teaspoon amchur (dried raw mango powder)
- half a bunch of fresh dhaniya (cilantro leaves), finely chopped
- Peel, de-seed and cut the pumpkin into cubes of approximately ½ inch.
- Chop the green chillies and keep aside.
- In a kadhai, toast the fennel seeds and pepper on medium heat until fragrant and a few shades darker, approximately 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and keep aside to cool.
- Heat oil in the same kadhai and add the pumpkin to it, cooking it on high heat for about 2 minutes, stirring continuously.
- Reduce the heat to low, add sugar, salt and green chillies and stir well. Cover and cook until the pumpkin has softened and almost cooked all the way through, about 5-7 minutes.
- In the meanwhile, pound the fennel and pepper to a powder using a mortar-pestle.
- Remove the lid of the kadhai and add the spice mix and the amchur. Stir, check for salt and adjust if required.
- Remove from heat and serve, garnished with fresh chopped dhaniya, accompanied by phulkas and raita.
This recipe has also been featured in Archana’s Kitchen.